The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson


Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

Religiosity

Table of Contents

  1. I Believe
  2. In The Beginning
  3. Soulless, Soulful, and Spiritual
  4. Spiritual Not Religious
  5. Science versus Religion
  6. Religion and Politics
  7. Intelligent Designer
  8. Inherit the Wind
  9. My Beliefs
  10. Epilogue

Religiosity, in its broadest sense, is a comprehensive sociological term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, and belief. Another term that would work equally well, though less often used, is religiousness. In its narrowest sense, religiosity deals more with how religious a person is, and less with how a person is religious.

I BelieveTOC

The following are beliefs I have had throughout most of my adult life:

  • I Believe in the Electro-Magnetic Force - That acts between electrically charged particles. Electricity, magnetism, and light are all produced by this force, and it has infinite range.
  • I Believe in the Strong Force - That force that binds neutrons and protons together in the cores of atoms and is a short-range force.
  • I Believe in the Weak Force - That force that causes Beta decay and various particles are formed by strong interactions but decay via weak. Like the strong force, the weak force is also short range.
  • I Believe in Gravity - That force that acts between all mass in the universe and it has infinite range. I believe that gravity is a fundamental force of nature. I existed since it was created during the birth of the universe, and it will exist until the death of the universe. It worked before Isaac Newton first gave a scientific explanation for its behavior, and it worked before and after Albert Einstein came up with a better scientific explanation for gravity. Other scientists may provide better explanations of gravity in the future, but gravity will continue to work until the end of the universe, just as it is for all of the other forces in nature.
  • I Believe in Entropy - a thermodynamic quantity representing the amount of energy in a system that is no longer available for doing mechanical work.
  • I Believe in Evolution - That the Universe and Life is born, evolves, and then dies.

“Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.”
- Steven Jay Gould

I also believe the Evolution is a fundamental property of nature. It existed since it was created during the birth of the universe, and it will exist until the death of the universe. It worked before Charles Darwin first gave a scientific explanation for its behavior, and it worked before and after others came up with a better scientific explanation for evolution. Other scientists may provide a better explanation of evolution in the future, but evolution will continue to work until the end of the universe.
- Mark W. Dawson

  • I Believe in God - Not a paternalistic or interventionist God, but an all-knowing and all-seeing God, who takes an interest in the affairs of man in order to see how they execute the free will that God has given them.
  • I believe that the Bible is the best source of wisdom regarding human relations, and how to live a moral and ethical life.

In The BeginningTOC

Genesis 1- New International Version (NIV)

The Beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

I have commented on Genesis 1 in my observation on "Science Versus Religion", and to how I think that there is no conflict between Genesis 1 and Evolutionary Theory. I would refer you to this article for more information.

Soulless, Soulful, and SpiritualTOC

This may seem an unlikely topic to be included in my observations, but I have included it because it is a basis of how we inter-react with our world and all that is in and upon it. Science breaks down all living creatures into domains; basically bacteria, plants, and animals, with animals being subdivided into invertebrates and vertebrates. While the Bible breaks living creature down into soulless, soulful, and spiritual domains.

  • Soulless
    Living things without souls - which includes the scientific domains of bacteria, plants, and invertebrates. A soulless entity has no concept of the world around them, and their interaction with the world. They are born, they live, and then they die without any understanding of what is occurring around them.
  • Soulful
    Living things with souls - which include the scientific domain of vertebrates. They are born, live, and die conscience of their surroundings, and make decisions on how to proceed with their lives base on the internal and external stimuli they receive. An example is a Hawk that is flying around, spots a small animal suitable for eating and decides to capture and eat the small animal because they are hungry (the same goes for lions and tigers and bears - oh my, etc. etc. etc.).
  • Spiritual
    Living things with both a soul and spirit - which defines human beings. Not only are they conscious of their surroundings, but they are conscious of their interrelations with their surroundings and other humans, and have intelligence and creativity to learn about and change their surroundings to improve themselves and other humans. They have a knowledge of good from evil, right from wrong, truth from falsehood, creative from destructive, reasonable from emotional, love from hate, wisdom from folly, and beauty from ugliness and the free will to choose their actions based on that knowledge. They also are aware of a greater force than themselves, a force that they have named God.

The Bible also teaches us the purpose of life on Earth in Genesis I:

“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.”

But the Bible also teaches us our responsibility to the life on Earth. For the Soulless life, they are to be consumed and utilized as humans' see fit. For the Soulful Life they can be consumed and utilized, but only in a humane way, as they have a soul given to them by God, and that soul should be respected. For the Spiritual Life, he gave us the Ten Commandments and the wisdom of how to apply these commandments in our daily lives.

This is also the reason that I believe Animal Rights are not equivalent to Human Rights, as humans are spiritual, while an animal is but soulful.

The best explanation of this I have ever read is Dr. Michael Guillen's book "Amazing Truths" in Chapter 10 - "Beyond Fleas and Grapes".

Spiritual Not ReligiousTOC

Many people say they are not religious but are spiritual. They often do this because they do not wish to participate in a formal religious organization, but wish to have a sense of connection to something greater than themselves.

Their anti-religious attitude has often come about through some personal encounter(s) that were negative. In today's society, unfortunately, it is also because they were not exposed to religious thoughts and teachings while they were growing up. They may also have seen or heard what they think is irreligious speech and actions that are often done in the name of religion (especially in historic times - please review my observation "Condemned To Repeat It" for more thoughts on this subject). It is, therefore, easier to reject religion based on this, and embrace spirituality.  

However, embracing spirituality is very difficult. It requires a philosophical mind, intensive investigation into philosophy and theology, determination what you believe and what will be your code on conduct, and the daily practicing, and often reconsidering your spirituality on a regular basis. Religion is easier (but not easy) then spirituality. In religion, you study the basic precepts of the religion that others have investigated in depth, and have come up with a code of conduct, then applying the code of conduct of your religion in your daily life. Religion also provides a sense of community of like-minded individuals, a support and comfort group in times of trouble, and often involvement in charitable activities of the religious group.  

If you cannot or will not make the effort required to be spiritual you are utilizing the phrase "spiritual but not religious" as an excuse, not a reason. My personal philosophy is to not accept excuses from people, but to embrace reasoning from someone, and to provide critique and assistance for anyone’s reasoning.

I will admit that I know whereof I speak. I was raised religiously, drifted far from religion, and eventually embraced spirituality. I can testify to the effort it took to become and remain spiritual, and how difficult (and sometimes lonely) it can be. But I can also testify how fulfilling it can be if you take the time and effort to do it properly.

My own spirituality is based on Judeo-Christian values, and I believe in the wisdom of both the Old and New Testament of the Bible. I am a big believer that the Ten Commandments are the best moral and ethical code ever devised, and I try to live by them as much as humanly possible. I don’t think you could do better than the Ten Commandments and Judeo-Christian values as a code of moral and ethical values.

Science versus ReligionTOC

I am a firm believer that science is the best way of explaining the physical properties and physical laws of the universe. I also am a firm believer that God created our universe and established its physical properties and physical laws. And I see no conflict between the views of Science and Religion. Science is the explanation of how God created the universe, and God is the explanation of why we have the physical properties and physical laws of the universe.

I have written a more extensive article on this subject that can be reviewed on my web page "Science Versus Religion".

Religion and PoliticsTOC

What is the proper role of government in religion? What role does religion play in government? The answer to both questions is none! One of the reasons our Constitution was established was to provide for Religious Freedom so that everyone would be able to practice their religion according to their conscience. Accordingly, the Constitution does not allow for the establishment of a religion, or provide legal or financial support to a religion, or to have a religious test for public office holders. Of these restrictions, I am in full agreement. 

But we need to realize that religion plays a role in political life. As President John Adams warned:

“Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion … our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The real, and contentious question, is what role religion should have on the shaping of public policy, and the election of public officials. To that, I would answer everything! The phrase "Separation of church and state" was used by Thomas Jefferson and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." 

The intent of this clause was to limit the power of the Federal Government in regard to religion, thus ensuring freedom of religion in the United States of America. It should also be remembered that Thomas Jefferson was the Minister to France during the time of the Constitutional Convention, and his only impact on the deliberations was through his correspondence with James Madison (who is considered a primary author of the Constitution).   

The phrase "separation of church and state" is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. Jefferson wrote,  

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Thus, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution, but only Jefferson's interpretation of the Constitutions' intent. Therefore, it has no force in law, other than what a judge may attempt to give it, which in my opinion they shouldn't be doing (see my thoughts on "Judges, Not Lords" in my "Government Of The People, By The People, and For The People" observation).

 The purpose of the Wall of Separation is to separate government from religion, not to separate religion from government. Religion in Politics is as American as Apple Pie. Religious leaders and Clergymen have a long and illustrious history in American politics. Many of our Founding Fathers and Revolutionary leaders (including military leaders) were of the clergy.  These religious leaders and clergy railed against British injustices and spurred the people into revolution. They also preached for and against social policy and laws, and the election of politicians after the Revolutionary War, and were instrumental in establishing our Constitution and setting its course. The clergy and religious leaders were instrumental in the founding and forwarding of the Abolitionist movement and often preached against the evil of slavery. They also spurred the citizens to fight the Civil War to end this evil. In our own time, the Civil Rights movement was also founded and forwarded by the clergy and religious leaders for the equal rights and treatment of all citizens irrespective of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, or disability of the individual.

Unfortunately, many of today's' clergy and religious leaders have been intimidated into silence on issues of social policy, and the actions, words and deeds of politicians. The tax code has been utilized to threaten them and their churches and synagogues. They have been Demonize, Denigrated, and Disparaged if they disagree with politically correct orthodoxy, and marginalized as a result. I also believe they have seen their congregations shrink as a result of these actions against them, and their inactions in response. Religious leaders and clergy have their Religious Liberties and Freedom of Speech as any other American have. It is time for the clergy and religious leaders to speak up on issues of social policy, law, and politicians, so that we may all benefit from their knowledge, experience, and wisdom when formulating laws, regulations, and social policy. To those clergy or religious leaders that are fearful of doing so, I would remind them that the Bible teaches them to "Be Not Afraid" when espousing their religious beliefs. I would also remind them of what Martin Luther said in defending his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences", which came to be known as The Ninety-Five Theses, in opposition to the Catholic Church position:

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.

Intelligent DesignerTOC

An intelligent designer also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life. The term "intelligent cause" is also used, implying their teleological supposition of direction and purpose in features of the universe and of living things.

Not so long ago, there were two major competing theories in the United States regarding the origins of life: evolution and creationism. Evolution represented science's opinion of how the universe began and evolved, and creationism offered the religious explanation. It was pretty cut and dry. Then came "intelligent design."

The intelligent design (ID) movement claims that life, as we know it could not have developed through random natural processes i.e. only through the guidance of an intelligent power, can explain the complexity and diversity that we see today.

"Intelligent Design" creationism (IDC) is a successor to the "creation science" movement, which dates back to the 1960s. The IDC movement began in the middle 1980s as an antievolution movement which could include young earth, old earth, and progressive creationists; theistic evolutionists, however, were not welcome. The movement increased in popularity in the 1990s with the publication of books by law professor Phillip Johnson and the founding in 1996 of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (now the Center for Science and Culture.) The term "intelligent design" was adopted as a replacement for "creation science," which was ruled to represent a particular religious belief in the Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987.

IDC proponents usually avoid explicit references to God, attempting to present a veneer of secular scientific inquiry. IDC proponents introduced some new phrases into anti-evolution rhetoric, such as "irreducible complexity" (Michael Behe: Darwin's Black Box, 1996) and "specified complexity" (William Dembski: The Design Inference, 1998), but the basic principles behind these phrases have long histories in creationist attacks on evolution. Underlying both of these concepts, and foundational to IDC itself, is an early 19th-century British theological view, the "argument from design."

The essence of the argument from design is that highly complex phenomena (such as the structure of the vertebrate eye) demonstrate the direct action of the hand of God. Modern ID proponents typically substitute cellular or sub-cellular structures (such as the rotor motor of a bacterium's whip-like flagellum) for anatomical complexity, but make the same argument: the appearance of complexity in nature categorically cannot be explained through natural causes; it requires the guidance of an "intelligent agent."

The problem of intelligent design as I see it is that they do not allow for the immense amount of time for life to evolve (hundreds of millions of years). Given this time frame of evolution, there is a sufficient amount of time for evolution to try and succeed or fail in developing life as we know it. Therefore, there is no need for an intelligent designer to create life as we know it.

The other problem with Intelligent Design is that it has no Predictability or Falsifiability. As I stated in my observation “On the Nature of Scientific Inquiry” without Predictability or Falsifiability you cannot have true science. The Predictability problem for Intelligent Design is often shrouded in obfuscations in an attempt to circumvent this problem. However, the Falsifiability problem cannot be obfuscated – the ultimate Falsifiability of Intelligent Design is the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Just ask a proponent of Intelligent Design what evidence they would accept that there is no Intelligent Designer. Their only honest answer is that there is no evidence they would accept for the non-existence of an Intelligent Designer. Therefore, you could never truly falsify Intelligent Design without a willingness to accept evidence of the falsifiability of an Intelligent Designer. As such Intelligent Design cannot be science, so it cannot be taught in a science curriculum. It should be left to a philosophy or a theology curriculum.

A humorous cartoon the exemplifies this is:


Please refer to my article "Science vs. Religion" for a fuller explanation of what I believe is a better explanation of what I believe is an Intelligent Designer.

Inherit the WindTOC

"He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart."
- Book of Proverbs 11:2

As I leave the topic of Religiosity I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite movies “Inherit the Wind”. A fictionalized account based on a real-life Scopes Monkey Trial case in 1925. Two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution, based on the play of the same name by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.  

Credits:

Inherit The Wind (1960)

Directed By - Stanley Kramer

Writing Credits - Nedrick Young  (Screenplay) (Originally as Nathan E. Douglas)
                              and Harold Jacob Smith (Screenplay)
                              Jerome Lawrence (Play) and Robert E. Lee  (Play)

Cast:
Spencer Tracy as  Henry Drummond
Fredric March as Matthew Harrison Brady
Gene Kelly as E. K. Hornbeck

The movie is superbly produced, directed, written, and acted, and fairly illuminates the issues surrounding the debate of Science vs. Religion.

The movie opens with the credits being rolled and the song being sung:

Old Time Religion

Give me that old time religion

give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It's good enough for me

Makes me love everybody
Makes me love everybody
Makes me love everybody
It's good enough for me

It was saved our fathers
It has saved our fathers
It has saved our fathers
And it's good enough for me

 It was good for the prophet Daniel
It was good for the prophet Daniel
It was good for the prophet Daniel
And it's good enough for me

Give me that old time religion
give me that old time religion
Give me that old time religion
It's good enough for me

 It was good for Hebrew children
it was good for Hebrew children
It was good for Hebrew children

And it's good enough for me

As Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy), an agnostic and fierce defender of civil liberties, arrives in the town he is greeted by E. K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly), an atheist and cynical reporter.  They observe the arrival of Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March), a devoutly religious person who believes in the literal truth of the Bible. Both Drummond and Brady have known each other all their adult lives, and have been friends that have worked together in the past in support of the causes of the common man in America. And both are superb lawyers fully capable of defending and espousing their positions.

I would highly recommend that you watch, and carefully listen to the dialog of this movie. There are three scenes from this movie that I wish to point out.

The Courtroom Scene

During the trial proceedings, a dialog occurs as Drummond questions Brady, who has been called as an expert witness on the Bible. The prosecution has objected to the line of questing of Drummond and the following dialog occurs:

The Prosecution: Your honor, where is this leading us. What has it got to do with the State v. Bertram Cates?
The Judge: Col. Drummond, the court must be satisfied that this line of questioning has some bearing on the case.
Drummond: You've ruled out all of my witnesses. You must allow me to examine the one witness you've left to me in my own way.
Brady: Your honor, I am willing to sit here and endure Mr. Drummond's sneering and his disrespect, for he is pleading the case of the prosecution by his contempt for all that is holy.
Drummond: I object! I object! I object!
Brady: On what grounds. Is it possible that something is holy to the celebrated agnostic
Drummond: Yes...The individual human mind. In a child's power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted "Amens" and "Holy holies" and "Hosannas"! An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral, and the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters. But now, are we to forgo all this progress because Mr. Brady now frightens us with a fable
Gentlemen (of the Jury), Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there's a man who sits behind a counter and says, "all right, you can have a telephone," but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. "Madam, you may vote, but at a price" you lose the right to retreat behind the powder puff or your petticoat "Mister, you may conquer the air," but they will lose their wonder... and the birds and the clouds will smell of gasoline. Darwin took us forward to a hilltop from where we could look back and see the way from which we came. But for this insight and for this knowledge, we must abandon our faith in the pleasant poetry of Genesis.
Brady: We must not abandon faith! Faith is the most important thing!
Drummond: Then why did God plague us with the power to think Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man that raises him above the other creatures of the earth... the power of his brain to reason? What other merit have we; the elephant is larger, the horse is swifter and stronger, the butterfly is far more beautiful, the mosquito is more prolific, even the simple sponge is more durable. Or does a sponge think?
Brady: I don't know. I'm a man, not a sponge.
Drummond: Well, do you think a sponge thinks?
Brady: If the Lord wishes a sponge to think, it thinks.
Drummond: Do you think a man should have the same privilege as a sponge
Brady: Of course.
Drummond: This man (pointing to the defendant) wishes to be accorded the same privilege as a sponge. He wishes to think!
Brady: But your client is wrong! He is deluded! He has lost his way!
Drummond: It's sad that we don't all have your positive knowledge of what is right and wrong, Mr. Brady.

A little later the following snippet dialog occurs:

The Prosecutor: I demand to know the purpose of Mr. Drummond's examination. What's he trying to do?
Brady: I'll tell you what he's trying to do. He wants to destroy everybody's belief
in the Bible and in God.
Drummond: That's not true, and you know it. The bible is a book. It's a good book, but it is not the only book.
Brady: It is the revealed word of the almighty God, spake to the men who wrote the bible.
Drummond: How do you know that God didn't spake to Charles Darwin?
Brady: I know, because God tells me to oppose the evil teachings of that man.
Drummond: Oh, God speaks to you.
Brady: Yes!
Drummond: He tells you what is right and wrong.
Brady: Yes.
Drummond: And you act accordingly.
Brady: Yes.
Drummond: So you, Matthew Harrison Brady, through oratory or legislature or whatever, you pass on God's orders to the rest of the world! Well, meet the prophet from Nebraska! Is that the way of things. Is that the way of things. God tells Brady what is good. To be against Brady is to be against God.
Brady: No! Each man is a free agent!
Drummond: Then what is Bertram Cates (the defendant) doing in a Hillsboro jail?

The Confrontation Scene

Near the end of the movie, Drummond and Hornbeck have a confrontation on the meaning of the life of Brady, as Brady has died of heart failure at the end of the trial.

Drummond: I cannot imagine the world without Matthew Harrison Brady.
Hornbeck: Ah, get me the Baltimore Herald, please. What did he die of did they say he died of a busted belly.
Drummond: There was much greatness in the man.
Hornbeck: Can I quote you in the obituary
Drummond: Write anything you damn... write anything you please.
Hornbeck: How do you write an obituary for a man who has been dead 30 years. Operator, say, what did he say to the minister You know, that fits. He delivered his own obituary. Ah, ah, where'd you put that, uh... Ah, here it is. His book (the Bible). That, ah, was Proverbs, wasn't it?
Drummond: "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be a servant to the wise in heart."
Hornbeck: Well... Well, Col. Drummond, we're growing an odd crop of agnostics this year.
Drummond: You know, Hornbeck I'm getting damned sick of you.
Hornbeck: Why?
Drummond: You never pushed a noun against a verb except to blow up something.
Hornbeck: You know, that's a typical lawyer's trick... accusing the accuser.
Drummond: Of what am I accused.
Hornbeck: Contempt of conscience. Sentimentality in the first degree.
Drummond: Why, because I refuse to erase a man's lifetime.
Hornbeck: No, because you know what I thought of him, and I know what you thought, so let's leave the lamentations to the illiterate. What is this, a be-kind-to-bigots week. Why should we weep for him, because he's dead? Oh, no. Besides, he cried enough for himself during his lifetime. The national tear duct from Weeping Water, Nebraska. He flooded the nation like a one-man Mississippi. You know what he was, that bible-beating bunco artist.
Drummond: A giant once lived in that body, but Matt Brady got lost because he looked for a god too high up and too far away.
Hornbeck: Wh-why, you hypocrite. Y- you fraud. The atheist who believes in God. Aah, you're just as religious as he was.
Drummond: Everything is grist for your mill, isn't it. Well, go ahead, grind it up... Brady's past, Cates' future. My god, don't you understand the meaning of what happened here today
Hornbeck: What happened here today has no meaning.
Drummond: You have no meaning. You're like a ghost pointing an empty sleeve and smirking at everything that people feel or want or struggle for. I pity you.
Hornbeck: You pity me.
Drummond: Isn't there anything... what touches you, what warms you. Every man has a dream. What do you dream about what... what do you need, you don't need anything. Do you people... love... an idea, just to cling to. You poor slob. you're all alone. When you go to your grave, there won't be anybody to pull the grass up over your head, nobody to mourn you, nobody to give a damn. You're all alone.
Hornbeck: You're wrong, Henry. You'll be there. You're the type. Who else would defend my right to be lonely?

The Ending

And finally, at the end of the movie, Drummond is gathering his notes and books in the empty courtroom. As he picks up his copy of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species he also picks up his copy of the Bible. He slaps both books together, grasps them tightly, and marches out of the courtroom to the strains of the song:

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on

(Glory all)
Glory, glory, hallelujah
(Glory all)
Glory, glory, hallelujah
(Glory all, glory all)
Glory, glory, hallelujah
(Glory all)
His truth is marching on

I've seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps
They have built Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence in the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
His truth is marching on

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free
While God is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
His truth is marching on

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
His truth is marching on

Amen, Amen

My BeliefsTop

So, what is it I believe about God. For a fuller explanation please refer to my web page on "Science Versus Religion". A succinct summary of my beliefs is as follows:

In the Beginning:

  1. Before the beginning, there was the "Singularity".
  2. And the Singularity was all there was, is and could be.
  3. And the Singularity was conscience, intelligent and all knowing.
  4. And the Singularity was bored as it knew all there is, and was, and what will be.
  5. And the Singularity decided to create a universe, a universe of matter and energy, and dark matter and dark energy. A universe of gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and thermodynamics.
  6. And this universe would evolve so that galaxies, stars, and planets would form, and life could be created and evolve on the planets.
  7. And this life would also evolve so that conscience intelligent life would come forth.
  8. And the Singularity gave this intelligent life the knowledge of good from evil, right from wrong, truth from falsehood, creative from destructive, reasonable from emotional, love from hate, wisdom from folly, and beauty from ugliness.
  9. And the Singularity gave this intelligent life free choice so that it could decide how to behave based on this knowledge. And the Singularity would observe their behavior and be entertained by it.
  10. When the intelligent life died the Singularity would absorb its consciousness’ into its own, and the Singularity would know all the intelligence life knew.
  11. After the intelligent life died the Singularity would judge them based on their words, deeds, and thoughts, and punish or reward their consciousness as appropriate.

I believe that God knows all there was, and all that is, but I do not believe that God knows all that will be. God knows physical properties and physical laws of the universe, so God knows what will happen as a result of these physical properties and physical laws of the universe. But God does not know what humans will do. This belief is a result of my belief that God gave humans "Free Will" for individuals to take any action they so desire. As individuals have the free will to take any action, God cannot know what action they will take. God only observes their words, deeds, and thoughts, and renders judgment of them after their body passes away and their spirit joins with God.

EpilogueTOC

So, as I leave the topic of Religiosity I grasp my Bible, and my Science books together, and leave you with the words of one of the greatest scientist in history, and one of the greatest science popularizers of the last half of the 20th century.

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."
- Carl Sagan

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
- Albert Einstein